Frequently Asked Questions about the Clinical Tables Search Service

The Clinical Table Search Service (CTSS) is open to the general public and free of charge. However, neither the names of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications (LHNCBC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), nor the names of any of the software contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this service without specific prior written permission.

Additionally, some datasets, such as LOINC, have their own terms of use. In the main page of this website, the source of each dataset is listed under the "Details" column, along with such policies and terms of use as are known to us.

  1. How can I be notified about changes and updates to this service?

    Sign up for the announcements list by sending the message "subscribe NLM-CLINICALTABLES-ANNOUNCE" (no subject needed) to listserv@list.nih.gov.

  2. How do I contact you or file an issue report?

    For general inquiry, please use the "NLM Support Center" link at the bottom of this page. For issue reporting or improvement suggestions, please use the GitHub issue tracker.

  3. What's the expected or guaranteed level of service availability?

    Unfortunately, we are unable to promise any minimum level of availability. However, we have designed the Clinical Table Search Service to be as robust as we could. It currently runs on multiple servers with a co-location for failover, and we perform rolling updates whenever possible to minimize service disruptions. Additionally, the service is monitored by an external service which sends us outage alerts.

  4. Is there any limit on how many requests that may be submitted?

    Currently we don't (and have no plan to) impose any limits, but we reserve the right to do so should it become necessary in the future. However, it's always a good practice to be mindful of the other users and limit the request rate if possible, e.g., when programmatically processing a large batch of data.

    If the request rate is expected to exceed 50 requests/second on a regular basis, we'd appreciate it if you could give us a heads-up using the "NLM Support Center" link at the bottom of this page.

  5. How much does it cost to use the service?

    The CTSS service is free of charge for anyone to use.

  6. Is registration required to use this service?

    Registration is not required to use this service. However, you are encouraged to contact us especially if you plan to use the service in serious applications so that you can be notified for major changes, and, though unlikely, disruptions. It would also help us in prioritizing new features and bug fixes.

  7. Citation and Acknowledgement?

    If you are publishing research that used this service, we'd appreciate it if you could include a citation that acknowledges it.

  8. What information do you collect or log?

    We log information commonly logged by most web servers, such as the IP address, the complete request URL (including the search parameters), etc. Do NOT include any PHI (Protected Health Information) or PII (Personally Identifiable Information) information in your requests.

  9. Is there any service level guarantee?

    No. THIS SERVICE IS PROVIDED "AS IS" AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED GUARANTEE, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE OWNER OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.